Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fear & Flash Backs

OK so most of you know that I was in a car accident on Nov 21st. It was raining, there was an accident in front of me and when I tried to stop my brakes locked and I slid into the accident. It had been raining all day, the roads were wet.. it was the first accident I'd ever been in.

Today is the 2nd time I've driven in the rain since the accident. I'm shaking, my stomach is so tense I feel like I'm going to be sick.. my heart is beating so hard it I can see it through my chest. It took every deep breathing exercise I knew not to break into hysterical tears and pull over to the side of the road.

I HATE IT! I've always been a very cautious driver.. always on the offensive, paying attention to what other drivers are doing, checking for places I can pull off if there is an accident or I need to get out of the way of the car behind, beside or in front of me. I've always felt very safe and confident driving.. I may not trust the people in the cars around me, but I trusted myself and I knew I had my safety in mind.

That all changed after the accident. Even during the accident, up until the moment of impact I was calm. I saw the cars in front of me, knew I needed to stop - I'm a certified emergency responder.. my brain goes on auto pilot when I see an accident. Stop, pull over, direct traffic, get my bag from the trunk -gloves, first aid kit, cones, reflective vest.. make sure everyone is ok, call 911. Just automatic relfex.

So when I saw the accident I ended up in, the thought pattern was the same. Even when my brakes locked and I started sliding I though - ok I'll swerve to the left, there are barrels where road construction is being done, the impact will be less. Still rationalizing. Until I realized that once in a slide - turning the wheel doesn't turn the car anymore. I was completely calm until the second I realized I had absolutely no control over what was going to happen and I was going to hit the truck in front of me.

The last thought that went through my head was ah hell this is going to suck! After that.. well I was a wreck - my mind was still trying to do the rational thing - make sure everyone is ok - I was the only person hurt.. and I seemed to have more difficulty than I could understand trying to think through the pain. People kept trying to help me and I couldn't quite get it that I needed to stop and make sure I was ok rather than worry about everyone else.

So today.. on my way to work.. it's raining pretty heavily. The roads are a mess, people are driving like morons and I'm white knuckling the steering wheel the entire way to work. Doing everything I can think of to remember to breathe and not cry. I'm sure I pissed off everyone behind me the entire way to work. I stayed a good 3-4 car lengths behind every car in front of me the entire drive. Even if it meant going a few miles under the speed limit. I've been sitting for 25 minutes now and I'm still shaking. My heart is still pounding so hard my chest hurts. My stomach is in knots. And I hate it.

I hate that one stupid accident has stripped me of the cool calm confidence I've always felt behind the wheel. I hate that something I do every day.. have done every day for the past 15+ years has now become something I have to struggle through if the weather isn't right. I HATE not being in control.. and I hate being afraid.

A really good friend told me this morning - when I was texting him in a panic trying to get my thoughts on anything other than driving in the rain - "At least you didn't let it stop you - It'll get better".

I hope and pray... Lord I hope and pray that he's right...

1 People who coughed on a furball:

Anonymous said...

Hey girl I was in a bad accident mysef and I have to agree with your friend, you have done the hardest part and that was to get in and give it a go, it will be easier each time but you are lucky now, for you wil always be more cautious and aware of others around you during bad weather and wont take it for granted. Im proud of ya and please don't look at it as scared, look at as a lesson learned and that you are now a more safety concious driver!